June 25, 2008
Contact: Karl Wagener
THE ENVIRONMENT IN 2007:
A TYPICAL YEAR OF MIXED RESULTS
HARTFORD – Connecticut saw continued improvement in some pollution and wildlife trends resulting from the state’s strong environmental laws and regulations. However, it was a slow year for land conservation, and residential electricity consumption continued to soar.
These are among the conclusions of the Council on Environmental Quality’s annual report on the state’s environment, which was delivered today to Governor M. Jodi Rell.
“This year’s report reveals a spectrum of one-year improvements and declines,” said Council Chairman Thomas Harrison of Avon.
“Connecticut generally is advancing toward its goals of healthful air, sewage-free rivers, a bountiful Long Island Sound and a protected green landscape,” continued Harrison. “Some of the goal lines, however, are receding into a distant future and will never be reached without substantially greater capital investment and operational support of the DEP.”
Among the successes of 2007 noted in the report:
Throughout most of the year, the air was the cleanest it has been in decades. Summertime was an exception, however, with more bad air days, which the Council attributes partially to the power plants that must kick in to meet electricity demand caused by inefficient air conditioners.
The amount of nitrogen discharged into Long Island Sound from sewage treatment plants and industries continued to make headway toward the nitrogen reduction goals set several years ago.
Fifteen pairs of Bald Eagles nested in the state in 2007, the result of regulations that banned the release of certain chemicals in the 1970s and 1980s. “Twenty years ago,” said Harrison, “nesting eagles was only a memory of some residents and a distant dream of others.”
The report described the following indicators as declining or “not on track”:
- Conservation of forests, fields and farmland: proceeding at a pace too slow to meet the state’s goals.
- Recycling: rates need to double to meet state goals.
- Electricity Consumption: The average Connecticut resident used more electricity while at home than he or she did in the previous year. Too few consumers buy ENERGY STAR appliances, especially refrigerators and air conditioners, and the result is more polluted air on hot summer days.
- Lobsters hit a new low in 2007.
Harrison concluded, “This report describes the successes and deficiencies in the state’s effort to improve our environment. A consistent theme in this report is that progress requires adequate financial support year in and year out.”
The report can be viewed on the Council’s web site at www.ct.gov/ceq/AnnualReport.
The Council is a nine-member board that is independent of the Department of Environmental Protection (except for administrative functions). The chairman and four other members are appointed by the Governor, two members by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and two by the Speaker of the House.